Less than a week from now, India would be going to elections – probably it’s largest and most important general elections.
Economically, as is well known, India has not been faring well over last 3-4 years. The growth rate has been at amongst the all time low since last 2 decades. General mood amongst entrepreneurs & corporate houses is glim. Even though the masses might not be in a mood to admit, or may be simply may not be aware that the economic dream of the 2000’s is more or less over. What many forecasted as the rise of “The Great Indian Nation” in the next 10-15 years in early 2000’s is today still a pie in the sky. It was not rare for a week to pass without any prominent personality mentioning somewhere in the media how India will return to its former glory(sic) in the next 10-15 years. The politicians, policy makers, economic experts and everyone else who falls in between were quick to point out that India will surpass China economically, militarily by 2020. Several reasons were cited – India’s abundance of english speakers, democratic values which would help in the long run and what not.
Over a decade later, cut to 2014 & the dream is still a dream. China is still far ahead of us, economically & militarily. India still has an abundance of english speakers, however most of them are unemployed. As far as democracy is concerned, the country’s democracy today resembles more like that of Iran or an African nation, rather than democracies of countries it actually wants to imitate. Politics is predominately driven by patronage, where without the support of bureaucracy or a family name, one cannot expect the government to function – a point in case, the recent debacle of AAP lead government which struggled to function before its untimely demise after 49 days.
For India, now, it is not about whether it is a superpower ahead of China. It is about survival of the essence in which this nation was born almost 70 years ago. The nation is treading on thin moral ice, where rape – of women, of moral values, of democracy itself – is an everyday occurrence. The political class is more concerned with power grabbing & money laundering rather than care about providing basic amenities to 20% of humanity it rules over. It is not uncommon to go without electricity for hours in urban areas. And with areas like South Delhi & Dwarka(West Delhi) still struggling for water supplies, it is anyone’s guess what the situation in lesser cities would be. There seems to be no policy in place to mitigate any water crises due to monsoon failure & snow impacting climate changes which in effect would have a drastic impact on India’s electricity generation which is dominated by hydro-electric projects.
Civil amenities and services structure is on a brink of a collapse in most of the urban areas, where 30% of the Indian population resides, and the population in the urban areas is only expected to go up. Civil services, such as Police, health, are already stretched for the worse. With only some metros becoming hubs of development, stark contrasts in inequality of incomes will only become starker, in absence of any policy which focuses on all all round development. Entire UP is a stark contrast to Noida as far as development is concerned.
The problem is that not one political party today is willing or is able to take the country out of this mess it is in today.
Congress, which has been on a vanguard while India’s situation worsened, seems more concerned about power than actual development of the country. Mr. Rahul Gandhi, who has been unwillingly forced into politics(proven moreso by his contrasting body language in the speeches he delivers). And his only reason for joining politics seems to be saving his family name rather than saving the nation. Congress seems to be so certain of losing the election that with less than a week to go, it is yet to announce its PM candidate. It was Congress at helm, when the India went to ruins after 2008. Does this country need another 5 year term governed by a Congress lead government?
BJP, is just congress in saffron colors. It did nothing to address the socio-economic issues in its last term. The only feat worth remembering(apart from A.B. Vajpayee’s speeches, Rahul Gandhi would be wise to take a lesson or two) was India conducting nuclear tests was during BJPs tenure at center. The performance was so poor, it got thrown out of government after only one term despite the India Shining campaign. There is no way to prove that it is less corrupt than the Congress, rather, BJPs allies are not only more communal(Shiv Sena, Akali Dal), but sometimes more corrupt when BJP is at the center(Akali’s amassing of massive wealth in Punjab is an open secret).
AAP has done so much to damage its own image in Delhi, that any sane voter would think twice, and then think thrice, before voting for AAP. Here is a party which has absolutely zero experience in governance, and to top it all cannot seem to manage the bureaucrats who would are a necessary evil to run any government. And it seems to have no plan on how the economic challenges would be addressed. Imagine an AAP government at the center(though highly unlikely), and only one thing comes to mind is chaos – multiple times bigger than what Congress & BJP can create together.
Irrespective of who comes to power next month, the outcome of 2014 Lok Sabha elections will in all certainty define the future & the course India would take over next 2 decades – economically, politically & socially.